Interview with Maren

Once upon a time there was a little blond curly-haired girl who dreamed of galloping her pony across the grassy paths of her home village in southern Lower Saxony

In conversation with Maren:

How did you come up with the idea of offering cow cuddling?

When we take our cattle to the paddock, we have often been spoken to, more often than when we take our horses. Many children wanted to touch once a cow or her calf. When our Nikki was born in December 2019, she got so many visitors that we had to regulate it. For us it goes without saying, but most people have no opportunity to get to know these wonderful animals up close. Just because we are a very small hobby farm, our animals are so unusually tame. For example: Our cows give their claws because we don’t have a claw stand. But the claws also had to be cared for. So our cattle learned to hold up their claws like the horses giving hooves.

You have horses too. How long have you been doing this?

I have had horses of my own for over 4 decades. In 2005, a friend #freundinfürimmer and I independently set up our own stable in Dransfeld at a different location. In 2010 my partner and I were able to purchase the Flütjerhof in Dransfeld. So the horses could then come here.

What qualifies you?

I have a trainer’s license for equestrian sports, trainer A, and we were also taught equestrian games and playful handling of horses in Trainer B, popular sport. I have had the Trainer A license, the amateur riding instructor, since 2003. I continue my education in every single year.

Have you ever ridden tournaments?

I originally come from the supreme discipline, three-day-eventing, with cross country. After an accident in 1996 at the state championships, I was no longer allowed to practice this. After that, I did endurance sports for a few years. My greatest victory was 120 km in an international competition, second place overall, my Orofene xx was Germany’s fastest horse. So we had first place for Germany.

Why aren’t you doing this anymore?

Distance sport is very draining. Out of consideration for the health of my horses, I then dropped out. In addition, the training takes a lot of time.

So you had the horses first. How did you come up with the cow?

We were on vacation in Switzerland. There we saw the mountain cows directly on the pastures on the alpine pastures. We fell asleep and woke up to the mooing and the cowbells, which I find incredibly soothing. The gentle mountain cows have done it to me. Since then I knew that one day I would like to have a brown cow. Like the ones from Switzerland. Preferably with a bell (laughs).

You mostly have Jerseys. They’re not straight from the mountains! How do you come up with them?

That came from a holiday on Fehmarn. We like to get the milk directly from the dairy farmer. So also on Fehmarn. And then I saw the loveliest calf in the world in a calf pen. I fell in love with it straight away. The farmer explained to me that it was a Jersey calf. I tried to convince him to sell it to me but he just laughed at me. He still had his great-grandmother in his herd, even if she gave no more milk, and gave her the bread of grace.

And how did it go?

Well, back at the campsite I searched the internet for a Jersey calf. That’s how I found Ella – and there was a small brown sick and frightened calf, which I took with me out of pity. This has turned out to become our beautiful black Mia. Since 2016, our calves have been running around with our horses on the pastures. Our calves have now become mothers themselves.

What motivates you every day to take on all the work?

When the entire Fluetjerhof team and all the helpers come when it is necessary – for example when the pandemic started, everyone was there immediately and even before the contact ban everyone was helping with what had to be done. When my cows come to me and want to be scratched, when they lie happily together and chew the cud, that gives me strength. When my horses curiously sniff me around with their nostrils, when they share the joy with like-minded people – that gives double the joy. The summer scent of hay is captured sunlight that evokes t-shirts and warmth in the middle of winter. 

What excites you?

Being in rhythm with nature, the feeling of being able to do something good that makes a difference.

What is your vision ?

My vision is of a better, peaceful world – sharing our paradise with our customers and clients. No pretending with maybe matching illusions. Being together with other people and especially with our livestock and pets in appreciation. They too have feelings, are annoyed, happy, hungry and incredibly curious.

Why are you and your animals particularly suitable for your project?

In 2015 I suffered from burnout. In recovering from the illness, I found the strengths here in our yard. I’ve gotten more sensitive since then, to be honest. The animals helped me to get out of the valley again. The interaction of expert knowledge about our animals, their needs, their stories, our stories, your story, the enthusiasm about the wonderful world of our animal companions, their daily changing stories and the diverse experiences will also beautify the world of our clients and give them uniquely beautiful experiences.

Thank you for the interview, Maren!